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Nello's - comments please

Heading to town next weekend and a business partner of good friends we are travelling at have reserved a table at Nellos. Can anyone give me the scoop on this place. I've heard very expensive and a scene - neither of which really scare me off. Last time we were in town we had an expensive meal at 11 madison Park (at least it was by my standards - $450 per couple), but the food and service made it well worth it. So if it is expensive and a scene - is it worth it? Or should I fight hard to go somewhere else? This is our one big dinner while in town for the weekend and I'd be really disappointed if we lost an opportunity for a great dinning experience.

Other dinners I've had in town which I've really enjoyed include Craft, Pastis (it was a while ago), Dos Caminos and BLT (Steak I think - midtown).

Thanks for the help.

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  1. Fight!

    Maybe others have been there - I've never tried it, mainly because I've never read anything good about the food there and have read that it is incredibly expensive. FWIW, I checked, and its Zagat rating is 18 (and meal cost using whatever their basis is as $77 per person). I believe that the mother in the Gastineau Girls celebrated her birthday or someone's birthday there, if that gives you an indication.

    So, if it is good food you want, I think you are likely to do much better than Nello, which I think is more an UES chic crowd place, than a great food place.

    We had a wonderful meal Friday night at Annisa - in the Village - haven't had a chance to post about it yet.

    Edit - NY Mag Review - http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/... - actual says the food is good, but sounds like a complete rip off to me - and I don't mind going to places like Goulue and Vico on occasion.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Thanks - the campaign has begun, any suggestions for an alternative? Needs to meet the scene requirement, but hopefully something that has good food or at least a better value proposition. I guessing a Midtown-ish location will probably be important. I'll look into Annisa.

      1. re: Cooooooooper

        I'm afraid I don't know much about places with good scenes ... Annisa is chic, I'd say, in a minimalist way, but don't think it is trendy. My trendy in laws were here this weekend - had lunches at Le Cirque and Cipriani - said they enjoyed the food at both, though they go there pretty much every time they are here. I've always had a good meal at Le Cirque, but don't particularly like the attitude, and haven't been since they moved to the Bloomberg building. They were disappointed by their meal at A Voce, for what it's worth. There have been some recent threads on trendy and good food, so you might try a search with "trendy" as a key word and see what you come up with. Happy to comment on a list, and maybe those who are more au courant with the restaurant scene will chime in as well.

        Good luck.

    2. food mediocre, people and scene mediocre..lots of wannabees

      1. The food is nothing out of the ordinary, pretty simple and clean pasta dishes for, like $28. The last time I went, my server was stoned, constantly laughed, had bloodshot red eyes, swore that a dish that was on the menu wasn't on the menu AND when asked for olive oil he brought a plate with olives.

        I think you'll have a better time at Sbarro's.

        1. Nello's is definitely expensive/overpriced when you compare the food with other places. However, your really not paying for the food, but the scene and ambience. If you know that's what you're getting into, it can actually be fun. I've only been once, but the food quality was quite good; however, it is definitely not even remotely in the same league as EMP or similar. If you're looking for your *one* great meal go elsewhere, and if you have time, grab lunch at Nello's.

          3 Replies
          1. re: streamwise

            imho, the scene is way out of touch, and not a scene at all

            1. re: intrepid

              I'd never heard of Nello's and it puzzles me. The Upper East Side is not big on publicly flinging money away for overpriced food. Mortimer's, the quintessential Upper East Side scene, had gentle prices (for lackluster food) and looked like a singles bar. Cafe Boulud, in the heart of that neighborhood, has a $24 lunch all summer... and it's not to attract tourists. So what kind of people go to Nello's?

              1. re: Brian S

                Cafe Boulud offers a prix-fixe lunch menu the rest of the year. Iirc, $32 for two courses; $40 for 3. More expensive than the RW prix-fixe which, as you noted, they always continue until Labor Day, but still, not nearly as expensive as a la carte.

          2. I am a person who's willing to spend more of their discretionary income on good food than just about anything else, but I think I'd have trouble swallowing what this place is serving... $37 for orrecchiette with broccoli di rape? $38 for grilled chicken breast with tomatoes and arugula? I heard that they charge $15 for sparkling water. The prices cannot be about the food, or even just the neighborhood, so what does this restaurant offer that I am missing? If anyone frequents Nello and likes it, can you tell me why?

            5 Replies
            1. re: vvvindaloo

              I think it's page six sightings - but I don't live in town - so that's only an educated guess. It's also reportedly a beautiful space.

              1. re: Cooooooooper

                its an average looking space, nothing extraordinary, nothing special

                1. re: Cooooooooper

                  Yes, maybe 'scene' is the wrong word. Its definitely a celebrity sighting place. The one time I was there on a random afternoon for a late lunch, Nicolas Cage and wife walked in and sat across from me....

                  1. re: streamwise

                    if it floats your boat, you can go to 100's of places in nyc, see people who you want to..if thats your things, nellos is one place, with mediocre food

                2. re: vvvindaloo

                  Prices sound similar - though perhaps lower than - to those at Cipriani - my Latin American in-laws are, I found out this weekend, big fans of both places.

                3. I am mortified that a friend and I dropped in for lunch today to escape the driving rain and STAYED. The menu prices must have been dreamed up in the Twilight Zone. We quickly realized our error but forged ahead, each ordering the cheapest salad on the menu (shaved artichoke,frisee,parmesan and a drenching of truffle oil= $29 each),cappucino ($10 each) and one creme brulee ($18). The food was just okay, the service was bizarrely obsequious. We could have had a wonderful lunch at Jean Georges instead. Nello is an excellent way to feel ripped off and unsatisfied at the same time

                  1. If you are looking for "trendy", and great food, go to Bar Blanc. Much less expensive too.